Community pulls together to help judo continue after club floods

Two neighbouring Teesside clubs quite literally ‘pulled’ together after Eston Grange Judo club was left devastated by a flood at their sports centre.

Eston Grange’s dojo was left knee-deep in water after a flash flood caused a torrent of water to gush through the club in early September, leaving members without a place to train while insurance inspectors made their assessments.

Yet, within 20 minutes of finding out about the disaster, Southlands Judo Club stepped in and offered up their venue and training sessions to Eston Grange. This allowed them to train there twice a week for at least eight weeks as the club was deep cleaned.

Now the club is back in its home, but is working on a smaller mat area as they await delivery of their new mats. One of the benefits of the union is that the two clubs have decided to keep a pact to help each other out in the future. Eston Grange is currently trialling a new judofit class and now have mums of players coming over on a Monday as well as visiting Southlands on a Wednesday.

Links between the two clubs, which are three-miles apart, originate from a 50-year old friendship between two coaches at each of the respective the clubs.

Thankfully, the centre’s insurance was able to cover the cost of the judo mats and in a few weeks the club hopes to be back in their own dojo with new mats.

The two clubs have a history of supporting each other, but it was in this vital hour of need that the friendship really stood the test of time.

“The situation has arisen because of the friendship between the two clubs,” said Karen Byers of Eston Grange Judo Club.

“Our club has been going for almost 25 years but two of our coaches originate from the North Ormesby Budokan, also known as Great Ayton, and their friendship goes back almost half a century.

“We are so grateful that they could help, we are already very close and do lots of things together but this is a truly fantastic thing they have done for us. They have been really supportive, pushed to get the room back up and running.

Mike Caveney of Southlands Judo Club said: “Both clubs go back a long way and we all feel like a family, so this is what families do for each other. We were only too happy to help.”

BJA Service Manager Liz Burdis said: “I think Southlands have done a fantastic job in supporting Eston during this time, without them Eston’s players would have not been able to train for over a month. It is a great example of clubs pulling together to support one another. Both clubs are part of the Tees Valley Judo Development group.”

Words by Donna Richardson. Photo supplied by club.